Iowa Advocacy Connection - Issue 3

Issue 3, 8/28/2013

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Articles in This Issue:


"Because We Are Equal To the Task"

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ID Action is excited to get involved and raise awareness about disability and the impact that Iowans with disabilities have in the workforce. This year the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) selected the theme “Because We Are Equal to the Task” to emphasize the message that a strong workforce is open to all Iowans with and without disability.

This October, ID Action will be conducting the Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign, holding a proclamation signing with the Governor and sharing the employment stories of Iowans throughout the state. These activities will help educate Iowans and raise awareness of the importance of having a choice about employment opportunities.

 You can get involved in your community too! Visit the ID Action website to find more information about activities throughout the month. You can also visit the ODEP website at www.dol.gov/odep for suggestions from displaying posters to developing educational programs. Here are a few other ways to get involved:

Write a letter - Write a letter to your local newspaper, your county, state or federal policymakers about employment issues that are important to you.

Share your Story – Your personal story is the most powerful message you can share. Tell your story with other advocates, elected officials and friends.

Host an Event – Bring together a group of advocates to talk about issues important to you.

ID Action is here to support you as an advocate. If you need help, please contact us at contactus@idaction.org or 866-432-2846. We look forward to hearing about what you accomplish in your communities in October!

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Eric Frank

For Eric Frank, helping and encouraging others is a way of life. Growing up in the small Northwest Iowa town of Lake City, Eric was surrounded by family, and a community that was supportive and encouraged him to be independent and gain the skills he needed to be successful. He was the football and basketball manager throughout junior high and high school and participated in the boy’s state track meet for three years in the wheelchair division.

 After graduating from high school, Eric had an "eye-opening experience". Growing up he had never been around anyone else who had a disability. The facility where he lived after high school served primarily those who had brain injuries. It was difficult for Eric to see people who had their lives drastically changed due to an accident. Over the next several years as he navigated his way through adulthood, Eric overcame struggles and barriers by focusing on what he was good at and finding support when he needed it. Throughout this time, Eric realized the impact he can have on others by sharing his experiences.

Today, Eric Lives and works in Carroll and is passionate about helping others by sharing his experiences. As a greeter at the Carroll Bargain Shop, Eric enjoys talking with customers and making everyone feel welcome.

Eric has said being a self-advocate has given his life direction. He recently put together a pamphlet that has given him a reason to reach out to other people to help them. In the pamphlet Eric talks about his life and the challenges associated with transition to adulthood along with offering advice to other individuals with disabilities and their families.

 Eric is involved with an organization in Carroll called the Choice Crusaders. The organization is an advocacy group that encourages people with disabilities living in Carroll to get more involved. He recently attended an advocacy summit in Cedar Rapids and learned more about how to grow and build the advocacy group he is involved with. He is excited to see how he can help grow the Choice Crusaders.

 Eric said he wants everyone to understand that "you might be scared but don’t be, if there is something that you want to change, the only way to change it is to get involved. It doesn’t happen overnight, you just have to be patient, learn how to talk to people in the right way and don’t be pushy but stay on top of it and it will happen."

 To hear more from Eric, check out his video. To find out more information about Eric’s pamphlet go to http://ericf-cp.webs.com/.

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Regional Advocacy Coalitions

ID Action is offering funding to support the development of Regional Advocacy Coalitions throughout the state. The coalitions will focus on providing Iowans with disabilities and those who are underrepresented in the civic and political process with access to information, support and resources to grow as advocates.

Applications and letters of interest must be submitted by September 9, 2013. More details, guidelines and the application can be found on the ID Action website under Regional Advocacy Coalitions.

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Take your Legislator to Work Campaign

In October, ID Action will be conducting the Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign. The goal of this campaign is to raiseTake Your Legislator To Work Campaign awareness that every Iowan with a disability should have choices and opportunities to have meaningful employment in the community. Legislators will be in their home districts in October so it’s a perfect time to invite them to your workplace to talk about the importance of having employment opportunities and ongoing support.

 If you are interested in participating in the campaign, have great things to say about your employment and an important message you want to share with your legislator, contact ID Action at

866-432-2846 for more information about participating. You can also go to www.idaction.org for more details.

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Advocacy Groups

Are you a member of an Advocacy group?  If so, we want to hear from you and learn more about your group or organization. Share your group’s mission, tell us what you have accomplished and what you are proud of.

 You can email us at contactus@idaction.org or call us at 866-432-2846. Your group’s story could be featured on an ID Action website.

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12 Steps to Successful Advocacy

At Advocating for Change Day, we talked about the 12 Steps to Successful Advocacy. In the last issue of the Iowa Advocacy Connection, we shared steps 1 & 2 and now we are moving on to steps 3 & 4. You can find the full list at http://www.advocacyuniversity.org/.

 Step 3: Know Your Legislators.

• Visit the legislative website (www.legis.iowa.gov)

• Contact your county auditor or your state/local election commissioner.

• Social media (most legislators have an online presence - Facebook, Twitter, website).

Step 4: Rally the Troops.

• Who else supports your cause (legislators, businesses, organizations)

• Enlist their support.

• Decide on common themes so your messages are consistent.

• Talk with your legislators while they are at home, don’t wait until they go to the Capitol.

• Be prepared to give the legislator information s/he can use.

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Advocating For Change

In March, many of you attended Advocating for Change Day at the Iowa State Capitol and had the opportunity to attend an advocacy training and talk with your legislators. At this event, we challenged you to continue your work as advocates when you went home to your community. Now we want to hear what you have accomplished. Share your story with us, tell us what advocacy activities you have been involved in since Advocating for Change Day and what the outcome was.

 The first 20 people to contact us by email or mail will be entered into a drawing to win one $25 gift card.

 Your story must include the following:

• Name and Contact information (address, phone number and email).

• What did you do?

• What did you accomplish?

 You can send your story to us at contactus@idaction.org or by mail to:

ID Action

P.O. Box 737

Des Moines, IA 50309

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